Hubert de Boüard was the seventh generation to take over the property in 1985 and it was his work in the vineyard and winery that saw the property promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classe “A” in 2012.
The estate consists of 42 hectares of vineyards but just 27 hectares wereclassified as Classé 'A' and these are the only vines that can be used for the Grand Vin.
Carillon d’Angélus is often seen as Angélus’s second wine but in fact comes from a separate vineyard and is made in a separate winery. The Angélus vineyard is a natural amphitheatre planted with 53% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot (although the Petit Verdot was planted just two years ago).
Angélus is one of the few Saint-Emilion properties to have a significant proportion of Cabernet Franc in its assemblage. This is because its soils have both clay and limestone soils. Cabernet Franc is highly susceptible to disease and prone to suffering from a lack of water, so it requires clay soils to really perform in the region.
Thankfully Ch. Angélus’s vineyards are part of an inverse croissant-shaped stretch of clay that starts in the north with Ch. Cheval Blanc, through to Châteaux Figeac, Angélus and Ausone – properties that all include a large proportion of Cabernet Franc in their wines. Hubert was one of the first to introduce green harvesting into Saint-Emilion and drastically reduce the production levels at Angélus. Prior to his implementation of green harvesting in the mid-eighties the property was producing 200,000 bottles of the Grand Vin every year.
His work in the vineyard cut the production levels by half with average production under his guidance down to 100,000 bottles. His yield reduction brought more concentration to the wines and higher levels of ripeness. Under the teachings of Émile Peynaud, he introduced more whole berries to the fermentation as well as picking the grapes later pushing for more ripe phenolics.
He also extended the élevage to 23 months in new French oak bringing more power and depth to the wines. His modernising techniques in the vineyard and winery completely transformed its reputation and within a few years of his implementations the wines were competing with some of the best in the appellation. The first great vintage of Angélus under the guidance of Hubert de Boüard was the 1989.
The property is today managed by Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, who took over its management from her father in 2012. Hubert de Boüard still remains very much involved, working alongside his daughter.
The Grand Vin of Angélus is typically full bodied, rich and bold in style, with Antonio Galloni saying that “next to Pavie and Cheval Blanc, Angélus has broader shoulders, larger-grained tannins and more overt ripeness”.
Some of the best vintages of this wine have been 1990, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2010, with them all being considered close to perfect by critics. A second wine has been produced at this estate since 1987, named Le Carillon d’Angélus. The vines receive the same care and attention as for the Grand Vin, the main difference coming from the length of time spent in oak and the proportion of new oak used, which means that the wine is of a lighter and more approachable style than the Grand Vin, and is characterised by velvety tannins and rich fruitiness.
It has been well received by critics, with Parker saying of the 2015 vintage that it was able to “show up many other Saint-Émilion grand crus”. A third wine has also been produced since 2007, called No. 3 d’Angélus, the product of the estate's younger vines, which focuses on producing a smooth and fruit forward wine. The constant search for ways of producing wine of even higher quality is clear at Angélus. In 2009, an extra 60 people were hired in order to manually de-stem the grapes, berry by berry, as much as possible, and this was expanded to 150 people the following year, meaning that almost half of their crop was de-stemmed manually. This process means that the berries will stay intact, preserving freshness and retarding oxygenation.
With the 2018 production, the property introduced two individual 3,200 litre oak foudres to the winery which made up 10% of the production of the Grand Vin. These thicker oak barrels saw a slower transition of oak flavours into the wine and the tannins in the foudre were very pure and more refined than when compared to the barriques. So pleased with the results, Angélus bought an additional foudre for in the 2019 vintage.